The British Compressed Gases Association (BCGA) has produced new guidance to ensure vital medical gases perform under pressure in healthcare environments.

The guidance note ‘GN31 ­– Medical Gases, The Use of Valves Incorporating Residual Pressure Devices’ provides advice on the inspection and filling of medical gas cylinders to help maintain the quality of gas they contain.

One of a range of publications designed to meet demands of the healthcare sector, the guidance note is available from the BCGA’s website for free download.

Doug Thornton, Chief Executive of the BCGA, said, “To maintain the quality of medical gas, avoid contamination and prevent corrosion occurring inside the cylinder, gas cylinder valves incorporating residual pressure devices have been introduced in the industry.” He continued, “These valves are designed to maintain a small positive pressure in the cylinder to help prevent contamination from external sources entering the cylinder.”

“GN31 provides regulatory authorities and users of medical gas cylinders with information on the reasons why these valves are fitted and explains how they can be used to help ensure the quality of the medical gas provided consistently meets the required specification,” Thornton added.

This is the latest guide launched by BCGA for the medical sector by the Technical Sub Committee TSC7, which focuses solely on medical gases and plays an active role in the Association.

TSC7 provides a regulatory input for the medical gas industry in the UK, specifically by working with the regulatory authorities and through membership of the various standards committees working on medical gas standards.

The BCGA is currently working on two other publications, addressing data integrity and the labelling of medical gas cylinders, which are both scheduled for launch later this year.

Thompson added, “Medical gases are essential to the existence and wellbeing of thousands of people in the UK every day in applications including respiratory care, pain therapies and anaesthesia.”

“Our mission is to ensure safety in the use, storage, transportation and handling of gases and the respected publications we produce through our sub committees, such as TSC7, are key to that,” Thompson concluded.